UPSC IAS Prelims 2022 Material | Important historical Personalities in News – Part 2

Dear Friends,

This post is a part of our current affairs series for the UPSC IAS Prelims 2022. In this post, we have covered all the Important historical Personalities, which were in news. This post covers the current affairs of September, October 2021, and April 2022 months.

Important historical Personalities

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Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada


The Prime Minister has released a special commemorative coin of ₹ 125 on the occasion of the 125th Birth Anniversary of Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada Ji.

About Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

He was an Indian spiritual teacher and the founder-acharya (preceptor) of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) commonly known as the “Hare Krishna movement”.

Aim: The mission was to propagate throughout the world Gaudiya Vaishnavism, a school of Vaishnavite Hinduism.

Significance: ISKCON has translated Shrimad Bhagvad Geeta and other Vedic literature into 89 languages playing a stellar role in the dissemination of Vedic literature across the world.

About Gaudiya Vaishnavism
  1. It is a Vaishnava Hindu religious movement inspired by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Here, “Gaudiya” refers to the Gaura or Gauḍa region of Bengal with Vaishnavism meaning “the worship of Vishnu”.
  2. The focus of Gaudiya Vaishnavism is the devotional worship (known as bhakti-yoga) of Radha and Krishna, and their many divine incarnations as the supreme forms of God, Svayam Bhagavan.
  3. Most popularly, this worship takes the form of singing Radha and Krishna’s holy names, such as “Hare”, “Krishna” and “Rama”, most commonly in the form of the Hare Krishna (mantra) also known as kirtan and dancing along with it.

Subramania Bharati


Prime Minister has paid homage to Mahakavi Subramania Bharati on his 100th Death Anniversary.

About Subramania Bharati

Subramania Bharati was a poet, freedom fighter and social reformer from Tamil Nadu. He was known as Mahakavi Bharathiyar which means a great poet.

His songs on nationalism and freedom of India helped to rally the masses to support the Indian Independence Movement in Tamil Nadu.

Examples: “Kannan Pattu” “Nilavum Vanminum Katrum” “Panchali Sabatham” “Kuyil Pattu” are examples of Bharathi’s great poetic output. He also published the sensational “Sudesa Geethangal” in 1908.

Bharati as a Journalist

He began his career as a journalist and as a sub-editor in Swadesamitran in 1904.

He edited and published the weekly journal “India”which was the first paper in Tamil Nadu to publish political cartoons. He also published and edited a few other journals like “Vijaya”.

Bharthi as a social reformer

Bharati was against the caste system. He declared that there were only two castes-men and women and nothing more than that.

He condemned certain Shastras that denigrate women. Furthermore, he believed in the equality of humankind and criticised many preachers for mixing their personal prejudices while teaching the Gita and the Vedas.

He also opposed child marriage, dowry and supported widow remarriage.

King Shankar Shah


Union Minister of Home Affairs has paid tributes to the great patriot King Shankar Shah and his son Kunwar Raghunath Shah in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh.

About King Shankar Shah

King Shankar Shah was a Gond king of Garha Kingdom in the Gondwana region of Madhya Pradesh.

Despite his state being under British rule during the first war of independence in 1857, the king and his son, Raghunath were saddened by the British era atrocities and kept igniting the rebellion through their poetry.

As the British officers learnt about their acts, the duo was arrested and sentenced to death and on September 18, 1858. They were tied to the mouth of the cannon and blown up.

The locals in Jabalpur mark their martyrdom day on September 18 every year.

JP Narayan


Recently biography of JP Narayan – The Dream of Revolution, authored by Bimal Prasad and Sujata Prasad, was released. It is an excellent account of his life, containing details about the various stages of his evolution.

About JP Narayan

He was born on 11th October 1902 in Sitabdiara, Bihar. He is also known as “Lok Nayak”. People also affectionately called him JP. He was a freedom fighter and one of the pioneers of the socialist movement in India. He was a man of great intellect and ethical values and standards.

Contributions of JP Narayan

He worked relentlessly for the poor and the underprivileged and became a symbol in the fight against corruption, anti-democratic conduct. He fought against the repressive practices of Indira Gandhi’s government in the 1970s. Furthermore, he also created support for the Bhoodan movement.

JP’s evolution as a leader

JP’s life can be studied under various phases. His formative years were the ones where he evolved as a political leader. He then turned to socialism. He also waged a guerrilla struggle against the British in the Terai region of Nepal. 

However, his life had a transition from socialism to Sarvodaya. This also led to the initiation of the Total Revolution.

About Total Revolution

It is a revolution against Indira Gandhi Regime, as she was found guilty of violating electoral laws by the Allahabad High Court. JP advocated a program of social transformation which he termed ‘Sampoorna Kranti’ (total revolution) in 1974 against corruption in public life.

This resulted in the defeat of the Indira Gandhi government in 1977 and the installation of the first-ever non-Congress government at the Centre. 

What is so great was his stature, the position of Prime minister or President was within his reach, but he chose to work for the people at the grassroots level. This made him a true Lok Nayak.

Awards and recognitions

Jayaprakash Narayan was posthumously conferred with India’s highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna in 1999.

Queen Heo Hwang-ok


On the banks of the Sarayu in Ayodhya, the Ram Katha Park has been renovated which will be renamed as Queen Heo Hwang-ok memorial park.

Note: In 2019, Department of Post issued a set of two postage stamps to commemorate the bilateral relations between India and the Republic of Korea. The Stamp featured the portrait of Princess Suriratna (Queen Heo Hwang-ok).

About Queen Heo Hwang-ok
Princess Suriratna
Source: Mintageworld

Queen Heo Hwang-ok was a Korean queen who is believed to have been born Princess Suriratna of Ayodhya, daughter of King Padmasen and Indumati.

Note: Padmasen ruled the ancient kingdom of Kausala (Kosala), a region that extended from present-day UP to Odisha.

The queen’s story is described in Samguk Yusa (Memorabilia of Three Kingdoms). It is a 13th-century collection of legends, folktales and history of Korea’s three kingdoms — Goguryeo, Baekje and Silla — and some other regions.

Queens Journey from India to Korea

In 48 BC, when Princess Heo or Suriratna was 16, she travelled to Korea from the ancient city of “Ayuta’ and married Kim Suro, king of the south-eastern Korean state.

She travelled by boat along with an entourage and was sent by her father, who is said to have had a dream about her marrying King Suro.

The debate about her Indian Origins

There is some debate about her Indian origins as there are many versions of the same story.

Samguk Yusa talks about the queen from a distant land named Ayuta and popular culture considers it Ayodhya. But Indian document or scripture has no record of her.

Some historians also believe that the princess could actually be from Thailand’s Ayutthaya kingdom.

But the kingdom in Thailand came about in 1350, years after Samguk Yusa had already been written.

Firoz Shah Tughlaq


The Delhi government is about to renovate the 14th-century monument, Malcha Mahal, which was built in 1325 by the then Sultan Firoz Shah Tughlaq.

About Firoz Shah Tughlaq

Firoz Shah Tughlaq was born in 1309. He was the third ruler of the Tughlaq dynasty and ruled over Delhi from 1320 to 1412 AD. Firoz Shah Tughlaq was in power from 1351 to 1388 AD.

The British called him the ‘father of the irrigation department’ because of the many gardens and canals that he built.

Taxes imposed under Firoz Shah Tughlaq

Kharaj: Land tax equal to one-tenth of the produce of the land.

Zakat: two and a half per cent tax on property of  Muslims

Kham: War Booty tax in which 1/5th was the state’s share and 4/5th was given to soldiers.

Jaziya: levied on the non-Muslim subjects, particularly the Hindus. Women and children were, however, exempted from the taxes.


He established the Diwan-i-Khairat — office for charity.

He established the Diwan-i-Bundagan — department of slave.

He made Sarais (rest houses) for the benefit of merchants and other travellers.

Established four new towns, Firozabad, Fatehabad, Jaunpur and Hissar.

Guru Tegh Bahadur


The Prime Minister will participate in the celebrations of the 400th Parkash Purab of Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji at Red Fort in New Delhi.

About Guru Tegh Bahadur

Born in: Amritsar in 1621 to Mata Nanki and Guru Hargobind, the sixth Sikh guru.

He was the ninth of ten Gurus who founded the Sikh religion. He was often venerated as the ‘Protector of Humanity’ (Srisht-di-Chadar) by the Sikhs.

He was a learned spiritual scholar and a poet whose 115 hymns are included in Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the main text of Sikhism.

He was also an avid traveller and played a key role in setting up preaching centers. During one such mission, he founded the town of Chak-Nanki in Punjab, which later became a part of Punjab’s Anandpur Sahib.

He sacrificed his life to protect religion and human values, ideals and principles in world history. He was executed for supporting the religious freedom of Kashmiri Pandits on the orders of Mughal ruler Aurangzeb. 

His death anniversary is commemorated as Shaheedi Divas every year on 24 November.

Sikh holy premises Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib and Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib in Delhi mark the places of execution and cremation of Guru Tegh Bahadur.


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